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Self, World, and Time (Ethics as Theology, vol. 1)

, 2013
ISBN: 9780802869210

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Self, World, and Time takes up the question of the form and matter of Christian ethics as an intellectual discipline. What is it about? How does Christian ethics relate to the humanities, especially philosophy, theology, and behavioral studies? How does its shape correspond to the shape of practical reason? In what way does it participate in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Oliver O’Donovan discusses ethics with self, world, and time as foundation poles of moral reasoning; and with faith, love, and hope as the virtues anchoring the moral life. Blending biblical, historico-theological, and contemporary ideas in its comprehensive survey, Self, World, and Time is an exploratory study that adds significantly to O’Donovan’s previous theoretical reflections on Christian ethics.

In the Logos edition, Self, World, and Time is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Powerful searches help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

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Key Features

  • Discusses the form and matter of Christian ethics as an intellectual discipline
  • Blends biblical, historico-theological, and contemporary ideas


  • Moral Awareness
  • Moral Thinking
  • Moral Communication
  • Moral Theory
  • The Task of Moral Theology
  • The Trajectory of Faith, Love, and Hope

Top Highlights

“Moral intelligence, with its sense of obligation, responsibility, and freedom vis à vis reality, can be mislocated” (Page 4)

“Not to interest ourselves in how the right and the good relate is simply to live the unexamined life.” (Page 27)

“At the heart of moral thinking is a prayer for the coming of God to reshape our freedom from within” (Page 42)

“First, Ethics reflects on the conditions of good moral thinking” (Page 77)

Praise for the Print Edition

Writing with a clarity that comes from a lifetime of reflection, Oliver O’Donovan here gives us an account of practical reason that shows why and how ethics is at the beginning, middle, and end of a theological work. I suspect this book is destined to become a classic because few authors are as capable as O’Donovan in combining wisdom and erudition. We are in his debt.

Stanley Hauerwas, professor of theological ethics, Duke Divinity School of Law

In this volume O’Donovan challenges how we do ethics, and what we say of ethics, across the board, from alpha to omega. The book is brief but elegant, erudite, judicious, its proposals matured by decades of reflection on what ethics can and cannot do. Its poetically dense, richly thought-provoking style invites one to leisurely reflection. After reading the first paragraph I was intrigued; halfway through the second I was hooked. You will be too: taste and see.

—Charles Mathewes, Carolyn M. Barbour Professor of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

In this splendidly dense yet lucid first volume of his new project, Oliver O’Donovan richly succeeds in re-connecting a neo-orthodox stress upon dogma with an earlier pietist stress upon personal formation. We are thereby inducted into a stance where vision and commitment, belief and action become fully inseparable. O’Donovan realizes that such an integral theology is what responsibility requires of us in the face of a double threat to our planet and to our humanity.

John Milbank, professor in the department of theology, University of Nottingham

The achievement of Self, World, and Time lies, to my mind, in its much welcome purism: it is bright theology and moral theology, and moral theology as biblical theology. The well-known sin of moral theology, since the Latin Middle Ages, has been its philosophical proclivities. . . . O’Donovan has written one more contribution to a non-philosophical theological ethics. This may be his best contribution to it. In any case, it is a splendid book.

—Jean-Yves Lacoste, philosopher, Clare Hall, Cambridge

Product Details

  • Title: Self, World, and Time: Ethics as Theology, vol. 1
  • Author: Oliver O’Donovan
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 152

Oliver O’Donovan is a fellow of the British Academy and professor emeritus of Christian ethics and practical theology at the University of Edinburgh. Besides these several books published by Eerdmans, his other works include The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology and Church in Crisis: The Gay Controversy and the Anglican Communion

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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Digital list price: $17.99
Regular price: $13.99
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